vicia bottled cocktails photo by adam rothbarth

Missouri will allow restaurants to offer to-go cocktails permanently

Last spring, restaurants pivoting to to-go cocktails while dining rooms were shuttered suffered a devastating blow after learning that it was actually illegal to sell alcohol in this way and that the government aimed to enforce this. But local figures like Adam Tilford of Mission Taco Joint fought back, lobbying to make carryout cocktails temporarily legal in the state of Missouri. Eventually, an emergency waiver was passed to allow it, and the waiver was extended multiple times.  

Now, over a year later, a new bill signed by Missouri Gov. Parson, SB 51 (the alcohol-related portion is SB 126), will lawfully allow for the continued sale of “intoxicating liquors” as long as the container is “rigid, durable, leakproof, sealable, and has no openings for straws and contains a certain amount of liquor as provided in the act;” according to the bill, to-go cocktails also need to be purchased with food. The bill further states that restaurants and bars will be able to sell alcohol until 1:30 a.m. on Sundays. 

Passed on July 7 and slated to go into effect on Aug. 28, SB 51 aims to protect people from being held liable for selling to-go drinks, among other things. “When Covid-19 first struck Missouri, health care providers, manufacturers, businesses, churches, schools, and other entities quickly altered their operations to protect public health and accommodate the needs of Missourians, and they should not be penalized for their efforts,” Gov. Parson said in a press release. “SB 51 will protect those who helped protect us during some of the hardest days of the pandemic, and I thank Senator Luetkemeyer, Senator White, and Representative Wiemann for getting this legislation passed to prevent these unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits.”